News Releases

Legislation could provide funding for nationally & regionally significant bridges 

There are nearly 5,000 bridges in need of repair in Washington state – MORE HERE

Senator Murray:I’m committed to delivering Washington state families new, safe, and secure roads and bridges, and this bill would help do just that” 

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), John Boozman (R-AR), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Bob Casey (D-PA) to introduce the bipartisan Bridge Investment Act ahead of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee highway markup this week. This bill would establish a competitive grant program to assist the repair and replacement of deficient and outdated bridges and ease the national bridge repair backlog. The EPW Committee will vote on this legislation tomorrow, and it is then expected to be included in a larger surface transportation bill considered on the Senate floor. The Senators previously introduced this legislation in 2019.

“I am as frustrated as anyone with the traffic and long commutes caused by aging, crumbling infrastructure in our state,” Senator Murray said. “I’m committed to delivering Washington state families new, safe, and secure roads and bridges, and this bill would help do just that. By funding the construction of bridges big and small across the country, the bipartisan Bridge Investment Act is a commonsense solution to a huge piece of our infrastructure crisis, and would improve the daily lives and commutes of millions of people in Washington state.”

The Bridge Investment Act included in the EPW package would:

  • Provide $3.265 billion to fund the Highway Trust Fund, which establishes a bridge investment program to award competitive grants to certain governmental entities for projects that improve the condition of bridges as well as the safety, efficiency, and reliability of the movement of people and freight over bridges.
  • Authorize an additional $3.265 billion that can be provided in future appropriations to support the new bridge program.
  • Require strong Buy America rules, by requiring all projects funded by the grants to use American-made steel and iron.
  • Ensure that a transportation bill could rehabilitate or replace bridges of all sizes, including nationally significant large bridges, like the I-5 bridge.
  • Create an innovative evaluation process for proposed projects to ensure the fair and efficient allocation of federal funding.
  • Provide quick grants for small bridge projects and allow projects to be bundled into a single application to cut down on red tape and accelerate repairs.
  • Allow entities of all sizes and scope to apply for funding, including: states, counties, cities, metropolitan planning organizations, special purpose districts, public authorities with transportation functions, federal land management agencies and Indian tribes.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure found there are 321 bridges are in poor condition in Washington state and 4,979 bridges in need of repair out of a total of 7,410 vehicular bridges in the state. Additionally, a report, released by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, estimates it would take nearly 40 years to repair the current backlog of ‘structurally deficient’ bridges in the U.S. at the current pace.

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray has consistently worked to secure federal funding for Washington state infrastructure priorities, and in 2009 created the TIGER/BUILD grant program, which invests in important road, rail, transit, and port projects, including many in Washington state. Senator Murray is also helping craft President Biden’s American Jobs Plan as it moves through Congress, which would modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main-streets, fix the ten most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconstruction, and repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges.